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SilverStone Ensemble EB01-E USB DAC Review

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Closer Look: SilverStone EB01-E

As with the companion Ensemble series EB-03 headphone amplifier, the EB01-E arrives in a box that makes no mention of detailed audio specifications. Instead, the packaging clearly indicates which integrated circuits are used in the design. The EB01–E uses the XMOS XS1 TQ128 USB IC which features asynchronous operation for improved audio conversion.

Also referenced are the Texas Instruments PCM1798 digital to analog converter and NE5532 op amp for optimal analog output.

SilverStone EB01-E Box

SilverStone EB01-E Box

The SilverStone EB01-E Is designed with the classic Ensemble series look, which features a curvy brushed aluminium enclosure supported by four oversize standoffs. The enclosure is available in either a black or silver finish, which provides an aesthetic choice when matching the EB01-E to your existing stereo equipment.

SilverStone_EB01-E_Ortho

SilverStone EB01-E

Recessed blue LEDs provide a status indication for power and audio content. Once initialized, the power light will remain on while the play indicator only activates when audio is streaming to the device.

SilverStone_EB01-E_Side

SilverStone EB01-E Side View

All audio and USB connections are located on the back of the unit.

The EB01–E has inputs for USB audio as well as coaxial or optical digital audio. A small push button switch on the back of the unit allows the active input to be selected by sequentially pressing the button. Three status LEDs above the inputs provide an indication of which input is currently active.

SilverStone_EB01-E_Back_lit

SilverStone EB01-E Back View

When the EB01-E is first connected to a computer system, a standard USB audio driver will attempt to load. To take full advantage of this hardware though, it is necessary to install the driver using the mini CD included with the package.

SilverStone_EB01-E_Driver_Install

SilverStone EB01-E Driver Install Menu

Installation proceeds quickly and smoothly and once completed, access to the full range of supported audio formats is available in the control panel.

SilverStone_EB01-E_Control_Panel

SilverStone EB01-E Control Panel


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2 comments

  1. Johnniedoo

    Very good and interesting points with lots of examples and details for this device.
    It seems that the ‘audiophiles’ are looking for the 2 channel or stereo for the perfect sound at 24/192,000
    yet, I am happy with the surround sound 5.1 or 7.1 which is usually at 24/48,000 or 24/96,000
    I get absolutely no significant differences though between the 16/41.1k and 24/48k. I liked the reference to the test or study done as well. I cant seem to notice much difference,but shop for the high numbers, still, for some reasons
    My motherboard digiital/analogue output is supposed to support 24/192k output through the standard hdmi, spdif /toslink cables. I have a number of headphones from my older AKG240s which were the benchmark studio tools at one time and sennheiser 180 wireless as well as some good bud type with tiny little speakers. I hear the smaller in the ear ones best, most detail-less ambient noise intrusion, i guess.
    Good review, though. thanks
    John

  2. Aidan Moore

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Some people record live audio at a very high sample rate and bit depth because they are multi-tracking many different live instruments in a digital audio workstation like Cubase or Pro Tools. Having a high sample rate reduces latency, which affects the musicians performance.

    But for most folks 16 or 24 bits at 41.1 or 48kHz will sound great if the DAC is well designed.

    Aidan

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